At Bliss Birth there are lots of AMAZING birth educators and doula's we work closely with who always recommend a Bliss Birth TENS hire. Sarah's story of the birth of Lily Grace is wonderful example of how these collaborations come together to create transformational birth experiences.
I want to start by saying a big thank you to Danielle from Your Sacred Space hypnobirthing for her positive birth program that Chris and I completed during pregnancy. Danielle was an amazing support through this journey of ours and I know if it weren't for her and the course we wouldn't of had the most amazing healing positive birth. We learnt so much from the course but the main things for us were how to navigate the hospital system, how to ask the right questions, how to use our "BRAIN, benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition, do nothing" tecnique, how to advocate for what we do and don't consent to and most of all how to go into birth confident, empowered and excited.
At 40 weeks and 3 days on Saturday the 8th of May at around 5am I woke to my first surge, it wasn't painful at all and I was able to fall in and out of sleep until about 6am when I got up as laying in the bed wasn't feeling right anymore. I woke Chris to tell him I was experiencing surges and we discussed if this was the real deal as I had experienced prodromal labour on 2 occasions in the past week. I told him I was sure this was the real deal and I was going to have a bath while he continued to rest as I assumed this early labour could go on and on for hours.
I got into the bath and started listening to my hypnobirthing tracks right away while doing my surge breaths. By 7am my surge timer was telling me I was in established labour and I didn't want to sit in the bath anymore so got out and woke Chris up. We set up the bedroom with everything I needed like my diffuser, birth ball, essential oil roll ons and got out my tens machine. I sat on my birth ball which felt great during surges and continued to breathe through them while listening to my hypnobirthing tracks. After Chris made us coffee and tea I said I think I needed the tens machine put on now as my surges were coming every 4-5 minutes and had increased in intensity. Once my tens machine was put on it didn't come off until I hopped in the bath to birth. It was the most amazing thing I've ever used and highly recommend it. Whilst it didn't stop the sensation of a surge, it distracted my mind to another sensation. It was so amazing.
For the next hour I was just riding every surge like a wave. Breathing while Chris did light touch and anchoring on me. Swaying from side to side on my birth ball and imagining myself going to the top of a wave then slowly riding it back down again as a surge would taper off. At this point I vomited and had a couple of surges where I panicked as the intensity had picked up again and the peak of the surge was making me doubt myself. Chris reminded me that every surge was bringing Lily closer to meeting us and to just go back to my breath. That was my most loved affirmation during pregnancy and really helped throughout my whole labour and birth.
In between the surges I said to Chris maybe it was time to go to the hospital and he said if I felt ready then okay or did I want to try a few more surges and see how I felt. I said we'd try a few more surges as maybe it wasn't actually time yet. So I changed positions and tried a few surges leaning over the birth Ball on the bed which was too intense so I came out into the kitchen where I had 4 more surges at the kitchen bench and then said to Chris I'm ready to go, I'm feeling I need to be there so we got the final things ready and called the birth suite who said to come on in and I climbed in the car and we left for the hospital. On the way I experienced many surges as they were now 2-3 minutes apart with lots of pressure as well. We arrived at the hospital where I had to keep stopping to sway and concentrate on my breathing. I walked with my eyes closed most of the way as I was in my own little bubble. A man who worked at the hospital offered a wheelchair which I declined at first but then said yes as the walk to birth suite was just too long stopping every 2 minutes for a surge. We arrived in birth suite and were taken to our room where Chris got very busy setting everything up for me. I sat down on my birth ball and continued to breathe, visualise and just ride each wave. Chris was doing light touch again and our midwife joined us in the room. She was so excited to see us as I had seen her for my 40 week appointment just the day before. Her whole presence when she walked in the room was calm and I felt so comfortable with her. She asked if she could do my blood pressure and have a listen to babies heart which I said sure. She did those checks and said perfect, then asked if I wanted a cervical examination and I declined. She said wonderful and never asked again if I wanted a cervical examination. She then asked where I wanted to birth baby and I said the bath and she replied yep wonderful. The next hour or so is a bit of a blur as I just continued to ride the waves, I remember saying the pressure was in my bum so my midwife started filling the bath for me and asked if I wanted to take my pants off which I did. Once the bath was nearly full I asked Chris to take my TENS machine off as I so desperately wanted to hop in the warm water. Chris took the TENS machine off and I experienced my first surge without it since labour had become established and holy shit, it was intense. I did not like it so got in the bath before another surge could come. First getting in the bath was so amazing, my whole body just relaxed. I laid back as Chris got towels for my head to lean on and a beautiful cool cloth for my face as the bath was quite warm. I rested for a little while in between the surges but then got uncomfortable as the pressure was in my bum which I said multiple times. I lost my control for a bit with the surges were on top of one another and started transition as I was shaking/shivering, saying I couldn't do it, I wanted to go home, I'd had enough now. Chris kept reminding me I can do it, I'm already doing it, every surge is bringing Lily closer, she will be here so soon, I was amazing and reminding me to come back to my breath. This was all so amazing and exactly what I needed to hear during transition even though I probably didn't seem to be taking it in. The pressure was very intense by now and I was on my knees leaning forward over the bath into Chris' chest as he rubbed a cool cloth on my neck and ran the water off my back. I kept saying it's in my bum, meaning the pressure. At the peak of every surge my body was bearing down and giving a little push which felt soo good. I felt this huge pressure and then a burst which really took me by surprise and my midwife said my waters had just broken and were clear. I changed positions so my midwife could see better and my body just started bearing down with every surge. Chris and my midwife reminded me to breathe as I was pushing, slow my breath as the adrenalin was making my breath really fast so I consciously had to slow my breath which calmed me down. It felt like forever but it was only 15 minutes of Lily slowly coming down. My midwife said she could see her head and to reach down and feel so I did and it was an amazing experience to feel that. I hadn't experienced that with my previous two births and it really gave me that push to keep going. I continued to bear down with each surge and my midwife was telling me "her eyebrows are out, her eyes are out, her nose is out, her mouth is out etc until her whole head was out. I felt Lily turn and then her body came sliding out so easily. My midwife bought her to the surface behind me and I remember saying how do I get to her. I lifted my leg over the cord and she was placed upon my tummy/lower chest as she had a short cord. I looked at my Lily who let out a big cry and then at Chris and we both cried. I kept saying "I did it. Omg I did it" and Chris was saying "of course you did! Your amazing" over and over. It was such a beautiful moment filled with the highest oxytocin. We took that moment in and kissed, cuddled and loved upon one another. Something we missed with our previous births.
After some time my midwife asked if it would be okay for me to hop out of the bath and go to the bed to deliver the placenta so she could keep an eye on any possible bleeding as I'd had two previous pph. I said that was fine so we struggled but got out and got comfy on the bed with warm towels and blankets. We enjoyed some beautiful skin to skin and Lily had delayed cord clamping for about 20 minutes where I was getting surges still. I asked my midwife if we could cut the cord and I could try sitting on the toilet to deliver my placenta to use gravity. She said yep sure that was a good idea so Chris cut the cord and got to have some amazing skin to skin bonding time. I sat on the toilet and waited for about 10 minutes when I felt a bit of a pressure so gave a little push and my placenta slid out into the container in the toilet. I went back to the bed and was checked and I had no tears or pph. I had a little graze which my midwife said would heal naturally. I was just so so happy to have birthed Lily, my placenta and have no pph. It was the biggest high feeling. No feeling could top that. We then spent the next two hours cuddling, skin to skin, breastfeeding, talking, laughing, resting and reliving the most amazing birth. After 6 hours we went home to our own bed for our first night with Lily.
I'm writing this now 5 days later and I'm still on such a high from this birth. We put in so much time, effort, money to have a different experience and it all paid off. To walk away from my birth with no trauma and to look back at my birth where I can smile and even cry with happiness is the most amazing feeling.